The Cosmopolitan is a cocktail that comes with a celebrity pedigree, popularized first by Madonna in the ‘90s at NYC’s Rainbow Room, then by Sarah Jessica Parker and company with Sex in the City. As a result, many people think that a Cosmo is too hard to make at home, but in all actuality, making a Cosmopolitan at home is exceptionally easy.
While the original creator of the Cosmo is lost to history, a number of stories abound regarding its creation.
Some attribute the Cosmo to a South Beach Miami bartender in the mid-1980s who mixed Absolut Citron with lime juice, cranberry juice, and Cointreau for the nightclub jet set. Another apocryphal tale has the drink originating in the gay bars of either San Francisco or New York City—depending on who is telling the story. Ocean Spray, the maker of a number of cranberry beverages, has been promoting cranberry juice-based cocktails for years. (One such cocktail, the Harpoon, was pushed in the 1950s and 1960s and featured vodka, cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime. Just add triple sec to that mix, and it is a Cosmo.) Another cocktail, the Kamikaze, is vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. All that is missing is a splash of cranberry juice cocktail to be a Cosmo. Whatever its origins, though, the Cosmo has taken its place among the most popular of cocktails in America.
Making the Cosmopolitan is actually quite simple. The toughest part is simply squeezing enough limes to ensure that this drink includes fresh lime juice. Avoid using bottled lime juice, as doing so will make the drink cloying and one-dimensional, and make sure to use cranberry juice cocktail, not 100% cranberry juice. As for the vodka, it is generally accepted that the Cosmo was first popularized with Absolut Citron, although these days many people opt for an unflavored vodka. Triple sec or Cointreau round out the cocktail, and this orange flavored liqueur should be available at any liquor store (Cointreau being the original triple sec). While Cointreau will give the best results, substituting a high quality, value brand triple sec such as Hiram Walker will still make a great cocktail. Garnish with a lime wedge (most common) or an orange twist to add a subtle twist on this drink.
The Cosmopolitan Cocktail
Makes 1 drink
- 1 ½ oz vodka
- ½ oz triple sec
- ¼ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz cranberry juice cocktail
- Lime wedge or orange twist, for garnish
- Add first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
- Add ice to shaker.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with a lime wedge or orange twist.